Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
Atomoxetine is approved for use in children, adolescents, and adults. However, its efficacy has not been studied in children under six years old. Its primary advantage over the standard stimulant treatments for ADHD is that it has little known abuse potential. While it has been shown to significantly reduce inattentive and hyperactive symptoms, the responses were lower than the response to stimulants. Additionally, 40% of participants who were treated with atomoxetine experienced residual ADHD symptoms.
While its efficacy may be less than that of stimulant medications, there is some evidence that it may be used in combination with stimulants. Doctors may prescribe non-stimulants including atomoxetine when a person has bothersome side effects from stimulants; when a stimulant was not effective; in combination with a stimulant to increase effectiveness; or when there is concern about the abuse potential of psychostimulants in a patient with a history of drug use disorder.
Unlike α2 adrenoceptor agonists such as guanfacine and clonidine, atomoxetine’s use can be abruptly stopped without significant discontinuation effects being seen.
The initial therapeutic effects of atomoxetine usually take 1 to 4 weeks to become apparent. A further 2 to 4 weeks may be required for the full therapeutic effects to be seen. Incrementally increasing response may occur up to 1 year or longer. The maximum recommended total daily dose in children and adolescents over 70 kg and adults is 100 mg.
Atomoxetine may be used in those with ADHD and bipolar disorder although such use has not been well studied. Some benefit has also been seen in people with ADHD and autism. As with other norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors it appears to reduce anxiety and depression symptoms, although attention has focused mainly on specific patient groups such as those with concurrent ADHD or methamphetamine dependence.